Within ten hours last week, two sets of sextuplets were born in the United States.
Last Sunday night in Minnesota, Brianna Morrison gave birth to four boys and two girls, four and a half months premature, at weights ranging between 11 ounces and 1 pound, 3 ounces. As of this writing, three of the babies have died.
On Monday morning, Jenny Masche of Lake Havasu, Arizona, gave birth to three boys and three girls, ten weeks prematurely, all but one of whom weighed less than three pounds. After the birth, Mrs. Masche suffered acute heart failure, the result of carrying twice her normal amount of blood due to the pregnancy.
It should come as no shock that, as with the McCaughey septuplets of 1997, these multiple births were the result of fertility treatments. In each case, doctors strongly advised that their patients reduce the number of fetuses in the womb to improve the likelihood of a healthy outcome for both mother and children. It will likely also not surprise you that, in each case, the parents declined to follow their doctors' advice.
Without question, this is an incredibly difficult issue for anyone to grapple with. How do you convince a couple who have been desperately trying to conceive a child at all that they have now conceived too many? I can't say for certain how I would react if I were to find myself in that situation. And I certainly wish nothing but the best of health for all the parents and children involved.
But what does bother me is the consistent rationalization given in rejecting the counsel of their doctors.
The McCaugheys went forward with all seven, saying they would put the decision "in God's hands."
According to a written statement by the Morrisons, selectively eliminating fetuses was "not an option for us. We understand that the risk is high, but we also understand that these little ones are much more than six fetuses. Each one of them is a miracle given to us by God."
Explaining her decision to proceed with carrying all six fetuses, Mrs. Masche stated, "I thought 'You know what? I've had a couple of miscarriages already. There's no guarantee that I'm going to carry these and maybe, if God wants to, he can reduce them on his own.'"
Excuse me, folks, but if you truly believe that God is taking such an active interest in the details of your lives, I'd say He was sending a pretty clear message during all those months in which you were trying and failing to have a baby the time-honored way. Yet you selfishly chose NOT to leave it in God's hands and rushed fervently to embrace the secular "miracles" of modern medicine, only to disregard the wisdom of those men and women of science when it came time to make the really tough decisions.
In case you never heard Him, God was screaming: